Why do men and women have such different expectations…

I’ve been watching Cracker for the past couple of days. This is an English TV series starring Robbie Coltrane. Most people know of Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid the Giant from the Harry Potter movies.

In Cracker he plays a criminal psychologist who assists the Manchester police in solving crimes. He’s an overweight, drunk with a gambling problem whose wife leaves him. Despite this, he has an ongoing relationship with a young beautiful woman, DS Jane Penhaligon, intertwined with an on/off relationship with his wife.

Watching this I can’t help but wonder why it is that women will accept so much more from a man than men will accept from women. Not only that but men expect women to accept so much more bad behaviour from them. In this series, both Cracker’s wife and his girlfriend accept his drinking, gambling, weight and boorish behaviour. He expects them to. They don’t like it but they accept it regardless.

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As the saying goes, women hope men will change after marriage but they don’t; men hope women won’t change but they do.

I have to say that in my own case I must be an exception. Maybe that’s why I’m divorced twice?

Aside from the normal growth as a human being I never wanted my husbands to change. I fell in love with the men who were thoughtful. caring and considerate. The men who took care of themselves and had good hygiene. The ones who courted me.

Unfortunately, in both cases, this didn’t last. Neither did it last in my live-in relationship either so it wasn’t marriage per se that caused the issue.

In all three cases, it was as once a commitment was made they didn’t see the need to bother anymore. They stopped being thoughtful and considerate. They no longer bought me flowers.

As for hygiene, I can understand the occasional fart when you’re living together but seriously, does any woman appreciate men letting rip in the bedroom to the extent that you want to pass out from the smell? Why can’t they take the few steps to the bathroom anymore? Did their legs stop working? Worse still they seem to find it funny!

In contrast, all three of my relationships failed, according to my exes because I didn’t change. I still held fast to honesty and integrity. I didn’t drink much before our commitment and I didn’t drink much after our commitment. My core values remained the same.

Yet somehow they expected me to change and to accept behaviour from them that I wouldn’t before. Why is that?

Now, I would personally disagree on why our relationships failed. My perspective is that the first was due to abuse, the second and third were due to alcoholism. I’m still not sure how I missed it in the third one after the experience of the second.

All I can say in my favour is that at least I did learn to recognise it and get out quicker.

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I was single between my second marriage and my live-in for 7 years and I’ve now been single again for a year and a half. I’m definitely at the point now where I’m content to be single.

Yes, there are times when I’d like to have somebody male to go to the movies with, or out for dinner with once in a while. There is definitely something different about the male perspective that is very different to that of most women.

In the past, I have always had male friends yet I seem to have got to a point in my life where that has changed. I still have some very good male friends, that are some of my oldest friends, but they aren’t local to me anymore.

However, for the first time in my life, I actually have good female friends. During this really difficult time in my life, being housebound due to ill-health and also dealing with some very difficult, stressful issues I have been supported by 3 local women, 1 woman and her husband who I have been friends with since I immigrated to Canada in 2003 who currently live in Alberta and my brother-in-law in Australia.

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I am very blessed with such incredible friendships. What makes them so special, is that they accept me for who I am and don’t expect me to change beyond normal growth as a human being. For that, I am very grateful.

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I’m still left with this confusion though over why men and women have such different expectations in intimate relationships.

I suspect that watching TV series like Cracker aren’t going to enlighten me.

However, having ended up on the losing side financially three times now I give my friends full permission to lock me back in my home, assuming I do someday get well enough to no longer be housebound if I ever get involved with a man who earns less than me again.

It may sound mercenary, and maybe it is, but as the quote goes “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is a poor man” and it’s certainly an experience I’d like to try!

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